Eric Lochridge


My shadow cat
fell dead from the roof
and my dad may have
as well fallen
like a carpenter
with nails in his fists
and a choked, spiked smile
when he left us.

My first dead cat,
a black one,
crossed my path,
leapt into the lawn
fenced in behind our house.
Her blind stare soured
as flies swarmed to worship.

The court
decided I would travel
west with Mother
as Dad turned away,
but on a hill
I buried that cat
by God.

Two slabs of wood
tied with a sock
were my cross.
The quivering kiss,
burdened with silver,
dried cold and shallow.



When I was seven or eight or nine, the family cat turned up dead behind my childhood home one warm day, just as my parents' divorce was being finalized. It's hard for me to imagine that a creature as sure-footed as a cat would just fall off a roof, so the poet in me has decided it must have been intentional. I'm not sure where the Jesus imagery comes in, but I suppose comparing the crucifixion to a suicide qualifies as blasphemy. Bonus.